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"weirdo_87" (Rancho Cucamonga, CA USA)

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His Girl Friday
His Girl Friday
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 11.67

4.0 out of 5 stars His Girl Anyday, Oct. 25 2002
This review is from: His Girl Friday (VHS Tape)
Based upon the Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur play "The Front Page", "His Girl Friday" is one of the most terrific and enjoyable of screwball comedies, as well as a satire of the newspaper business (Which explains it lack of Oscars).
Cary Grant is Walter Burns, the chief editor of the Morning Daily newspaper. He runs into trouble with his ex-wife "Hildy" Johnson (Rosalind Russell), who is also the best writer at the paper. Hildy tells Walter that she is moving to Albany and is getting married to an insurance man, Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Thus, she's quitting her job. This comes at a bad time, for an innocent man named Earl Williams (John Qualen) has been charged with and will be hanged for murder. Walter seems to still love Hildy, and sure isn't going to loose his best writer. So he has her interview Williams and get a story on him to prove he isn't insane. Walter, however, has a plan behind this. He wants to delay the trip of Hildy and Bruce long enough to allow Hildy to reconsider her decision to leave the paper. Thus, he has Bruce put on the charge of stealing a watch. Hildy becomes so irate that she destroys her story and is about to depart when Earl Williams breaks out, causing a chain reaction of events that'll make Walter and Hildy feel as though they're in a tea kettle.
Hildy Johnson's character in the original play was a man. Which might explain some of her not so lady like gestures and actions. There's ink flowing in her blood and Walter knows that. He knows that she was meant to be active and adventurous, not bogged down by figures and facts in an insurance office. But, it is also very likely that some of the things Walter does are out of love. He wants to make up for lost time that he didn't have with Hildy, like how their honeymoon was spoiled because they were trapped in a mine. Grant seems to be perfect for the role. But, though Russell was also a terrific choice, other actresses of the period (Katherine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy) would have also been good choices. They would have presented the character differently though; they don't have newspaper ink flowing in their blood. Then again, what right do I have to complain? I'm a film buff, yes, but one who still needs more experience in screwball comedies.
A fine supporting cast assists Grant and Russell. Bellamy replays a role that's similar to his in "The Awful Truth". Come to think of it, this movie is a lot like "The Awful Truth", at least with the bickering ex-lovers and with Bellamy's Bruce, like his Daniel in "Awful Truth", being loyal to his mother. Gene Lockhart ("Going My Way") has some funny scenes as Sheriff Peter B. 'Pinky', who inadvertently helps Earl Williams escape from prison (Which causes Hildy to say that the B means Brains). The newspaper reporters are all a cruel bunch: They published bad things about Earl Williams and smeared the name of his girlfriend, Molly Malloy (Helen Mack). They only spring into action when they hear a news lead that sounds interesting, such as a background check that shows Earl Williams failed a class in High School. Among this group includes Porter Hall, Cliff Edwards, Roscoe Karns, Frank Jenks, and Regis Toomey (There's also Ernest Truex as Roy Bensinger, a tribune reporter). Also in the supporting cast include Clarence Kold as the mayor who would hang his own mother to be reelected, Abner Biberman as Louis, a hood who seems to be a send up of "Scarface" Al Capone (Or at least as he was played by Paul Muni), Alma Kruger as Bruce's mother, who uncovers the hiding place of Williams, Pat Westas as Warden Cooley, Edwin Maxwell as Psychiatrist Dr. Egelhoffer and Billy Gilber as a messenger with news from the governor.
Though it could be another item that makes this show great, the rapid, twisting plot may annoy some. Walter teams with Hildy, only to then double cross her by getting Bruce landed in jail. But not just once, oh no no. The poor guy goes there three times. It's like "Come three times in one day and your next visit is free" (That's right. All this occurs in about 12-18 hours). The ending I'll try not to spoil. But I will say that'll either make sense to you or just seem like another happy Hollywood ending (Or similar to endings of screwball comedies like "It Happened One Night", "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", "The Awful Truth" and "The Philadelphia Story").
The VHS edition I saw this on was from the Goodtimes Video series "Hollywood Movie Greats" and is erroneously called a "Collector's Edition." Well, I guess if the collector wants a so-so print of the movie. The picture quality is clear for the most part, though some scenes are lighter or darker then others. One such scene is when one reporter asks for more light in the pressroom, saying that he can't see a thing. He must be blind because I could see fine. The sound is clear for the most part, though some scenes suddenly become louder for a few minutes and then tone down. A collector's edition should also have something like a theatrical trailer, or at least an advertisement for others in the collection. Fortunately, the movie has been put on DVD in an edition licensed by Columbia. I don't have it, but it should at least have better audio and video (Not to mention some extras).

Black Hawk Down (Bilingual) [Import]
Black Hawk Down (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Josh Hartnett
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 12.16
79 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Who is at fault for Mogadishu?, Oct. 22 2002
There is somewhat of a debate over who is to blame for the October 1993 incident in Mogadishu. I will try to present a viewpoint of it.
In late 1992, with his term as President coming to an end, George Bush senior sent American troops to Somalia, after some pressure from groups such as the United Nations, to act as humanitarians by aiding the people there. Thus, you can blame Bush for committing us (And, if you want to go further, blame the U.N for pressuring involvement). However, when Clinton took office, he had the humanitarians removed and Rangers and Delta Forces put in their place. The situation was also escalated: The Battle of Mogadishu (Which is also the event shown in "Black Hawk Down") occurred as a result of the hunt for one of the Somalia Warlords and for some of his top men. Much different from the intentions of Bush senior. So, you can blame Clinton as well.
I come from a family that is pro-republican, so I can't help but pick up on some of their beliefs. I do admit that Bush has some of the blame, but I also think he had the best of intentions for doing so. Some of my relatives talk of Clinton like he was Hitler. Fault can be put on him solely for the fact he was our leader at the time. But he too had good intentions by having a mission planned to go after those responsible for the violence. To end the harm being done to the civilians, is there any better solution then going after the roots of the evil?
The real blame for the battle's outcome was in the planning of the raid. The U.S underestimated the strength and skill of the Somalia troops whiles overestimating itself. We thought it would be a straight hit and run mission, taking no more than half an hour to an hour. Our men also weren't supplied with proper air and ground support (The pentagon said it was to prevent escalating the conflict, forgetting that sending in armed troops was defeating that purpose). In the end, we had about 18 dead and many more wounded, two helicopters shot down (With one pilot held hostage) and embarrassment on our faces. The defeat in Somalia still echoes in our military: Nowadays, the policy is that we have the will to get involved in fights we have no part of, yet won't go all the way in terms of suffering casualties. The U.N, Bush, Clinton, our army generals, troops and everyone else could not have foreseen what would happen and shouldn't have their whole careers judged solely by this. Still, they all should have anticipated that something bad might occur: As stated in "Bridge on the River Kwai", 'Expect the unexpected'.
Now as to what I thought of "Black Hawk Down". I thought it was a compelling war picture with some gut-wrenching battle scenes. I also liked how it avoided being patriotic cornball or a sadistic accusation (Though understandable, considering it came out after 9/11). However, it was often hard to tell who was who during the battle scenes. And many people are upset by the lack of human involvement with the characters (Not me though: I've heard some good theories about the men being developed as a unit rather than as individuals. And what did you want instead: The cliched stock characters as used in past war movies?). Still, four stars and a recommendation from me.

Bad Day at Black Rock [Import]
Bad Day at Black Rock [Import]
VHS
4 used & new from CDN$ 17.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has black rock ever had a good day?, Aug. 16 2002
Black Rock. A town out in the middle of nowhere in the California desert. Yet one day, shortly after the end of World War II, an exciting event occurs here. For the first time in four years, the streamliner makes a stop here. Out of it comes one man named Macready (Spencer Tracy), who is also crippled in his left arm. The other townspeople become suspicious when Macready asks to go to Adobe flats to see a Japanese man named Komoko. Macready can't understand why; he's just wants to speak to Komoko about his son, whom Macready served with in Italy. Komoko's son had died defending Macready and, for this, he was awarded a medal that Macready wants to present to Komoko. But something is fishy about this town. It's concealing a secret past, a past that Reno Smith (Robert Ryan) and his henchmen, Coley Trimble (Ernest Borgnine) and Hector David (Lee Marvin) want to keep secret.
"Bad Day at Black Rock" doesn't have too much action. There are a few action scenes, but they are spaced apart. The thing that keeps this movie exciting and suspenseful are the strong, convincing performances. Tracy as the crippled, mysterious and tough loner Macready. Ryan, Borgnine and Marvin are all great as men who want to push Macready over the limit, yet can't seem to faze him. They also run the town, although neither of them is officially sheriff. The real sheriff is a drunken coward played by Dean Jagger. He is also one of the few who befriends Macready. The others include a friendly doctor, T.R Velie, (Walter Brennan) and Liz Wirth (Anne Francis), the sister of Pete Wirth (John Ericson).
The music score, cinematography and direction are also excellent. The score gives the movie another emotional level while the photography gives the desert a foreboding look. And the direction is able to keep up the excitement and the pace.
The only thing I really hate about this movie is a lack of character development. Many of the people are the same way at the end as they were at the beginning. A few have changed somewhat: Jagger's sheriff becomes less of a coward, for one thing. But Ryan, Borgnine and Marvin switch to be bad guys at the drop of a hat when they first spot Macready. Macready, however, is rather different from other such western heroes of the period. For one thing, he is almost impossible to break. He knows that if he strikes first, the others will beat him up and call self-defense. He also doesn't react because he can't do much with one arm (Or so we think).
The movie may serve as a political allegory to the McCarthy Era; Macready was instantly suspected and accused by the townspeople before they could even get to know him. All he had to do was walk into town. The movie also serves as a statement against the racism suffered by Japanese-Americans in World War II. Now some of this is excusable (We shipped them off to internment camps out of paranoia and, contrary to some beliefs, they were not death camps but rather large prisons). But what happened to guys like Komoko is not easy to excuse.
I mentioned that the movie has elements of film noir. Macready has the toughness of someone like Sam Spade or Phil Marlowe, yet is also calm and collected. And often, he is a loner. The people in the town, the males at least, are bad guys the like of those that were dealt with by Spade and Marlowe. And Anne Francis as Liz Wirth is, to some extent, a female fatale. She doesn't turn out to be as friendly to Macready as originally thought. And her fate is similar to those that noir tough girls usually got. Film noir. is also a genre concerned with guilt and crime, two things which are definitely part of this town's history.
The screenplay was written by Don McGuire and adapted from the short story "Bad Time at Hondo" by Howard Breslin.

Awful Truth, the
Awful Truth, the
VHS
6 used & new from CDN$ 10.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Who says the truth has to be awful?, Aug. 16 2002
This review is from: Awful Truth, the (VHS Tape)
One of the best screwball comedies of '30's, right on par with Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night" and "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town". In their first screen paring, Cary Grant and Irene Dunne play Jerry and Lucy Warriner, a married high class couple who seem to be getting along fine. Until one night, when the two become convinced, for various small reasons, that there are infidelities in the relationship. They both reveal their feelings about one another ("I wouldn't go on living with you if you were dipped in platinum") and get a divorce. Lucy gets custody of the couple's beloved dog, Mr. Smith. But, Jerry is also able to get a court order allowing him to see the dog twice a week. And, although the divorce doesn't become final for 60 days, the two start forming other relationships, with each partner trying to sabotage the others romances.
Lucy has a relationship with a millionaire Oklahoma rancher named Daniel (Ralph Bellamy), while Jerry has one with singer Dixie Belle Lee (Joyce Compton). However, Jerry is able to mess up that one when he and Lucy's voice teacher get caught in the same place and battle out of Lucy's apartment. This Daniel to remark "Well, I guess a man's best friend is his mother" (Similar to words later said by Norman Bates in 1960's "Psycho"). And Jerry's romance with Lee is short lived. He soon starts to go out with high-class socialite Barbara Vance (Molly Lamont). But one day, when Lucy visits Jerry's apartment (On their last day as husband and wife), Lucy answers the telephone only to find out it is Barbara. Jerry lies to Barbara that it's his sister, which causes Barbara to invite her along with Jerry over to her residence that night. Lucy (Or Lola, the name Jerry gave her as his sister) shows up drunk and makes a fool of Jerry, who decides to leave along with Lucy in her car. But, there is a problem with the car radio that causes them to get pulled over by the cops. And the "breaks" give out (Actually, Lucy lets them loose), causing the car to crash. The two are given rides by the policemen to Lucy's aunt's place, where they sleep in rooms that are next to one another. But, the door separating the two rooms has a problem of not staying closed.
Now, what does one think of the things Jerry and Lucy do to one another in their relationships? It seemd to me, at first, that they were trying to put the other through hell. But, they seem to love one another more as they are doing it. For example, the scene where Jerry goes to Lucy's voice teacher's apartment. He expects to see her alone with the intructor, only to find Lucy is performing for a group. Jerry sits down and, in a funny moment, leans too far back and falls over. Lucy, in the middle of singing, makes a little laugh; she likes seeing Jerry make a fool of himself. But, she makes sure the laugh isn't noticed. This can be interpreted on that she loves how Jerry makes her laugh. The more they try to hurt one another, the more they see their mutual love for one another, which is the awful truth. Daniel puts it best to Lucy in these words:
Daniel: Are you sure you don't like that fella?
Lucy: Like him? You saw the way I treated him, didn't you?
Daniel: That's what I mean. Back on my ranch, I got a little red rooster and a little brown hen and they fight all the time too, but every once in a while they make up again and they're right friendly.
Dunne got an Oscar nomination for her hilarious, and beautiful looking, performance.. The film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Ralph Bellamy), Best Screenplay and Best Film Editing, with Leo McCarey picking up the first of two Best Director Oscars (His second would be for 1944's "Going My Way", which I have also reviewed"). Strangely, Grant was ignored in the nominations (Though he would be nominated twice in the '40's for dramatic roles). I don't know what the Academy had against Grant. Since Grant was from England, was it patriotism for the U.S? If so, why did Charles Laughton get a Best Actor award in 1933 for "The Private Life of King Henry VIII"? Maybe Grant wasn't a team player?
I must say this before I close the review: The dog, Mr. Smith, should have gotten an honorary award or nomination of some kind. He was very well trained, being able to cover his eyes during hide and seek and, in a clever (And often clichéd) scene, forced to decide on who should be it's master. He's also a great companion for Grant when he plays the piano during his visits.
When will this be on DVD?

Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
VHS
Offered by vidsale
Price: CDN$ 23.95
2 used & new from CDN$ 23.95

4.0 out of 5 stars "Second rate punk," eh?, July 24 2002
This review is from: Where Eagles Dare (VHS Tape)
Pros: Great action and adventure, Burton and Eastwood are likable.
Cons: Germans need training, plot and character alliances can be confusing.
Let me start off by saying: This isn't a war film. Though it takes place during a war, it is really an action/adventure movie. A war film is something like "All Quiet on the Western Front". This is escapist entertainment that was aimed for young boys, though many people could enjoy this. Consider this how James Bond would fight a war.
And it has a Bondish plot: An important allied general, who knows the plans for the second front against Germany, has been captured and is held in an inaccessible fortress. The only hope of getting him out before he tells the Germans what he knows is to land in an allied team, led by Burton, to get him out. Unfortunately, the mission is plagued by double crosses and various mishaps in the castle. Getting in and getting the general is difficult enough, but getting out with half the German infantry against you would take a miracle.
Or maybe it wouldn't. I don't mean to sound uptight, but while the Germans have the advantage against the commandos in size, the allies definitely have the advantage in tactics. The allies try to hide behind walls and doors and such, while the Germans just march ahead or jump in the way, almost begging to be killed. The worse example was when a group of German infantry was on the stairway. Eastwood was on the other side and is spotted by the Germans, yet they freeze up while Eastwood blasts them down. It also seems that the good guys never run out of bullets.
But, who are the good guys in this movie? Out of the seven commandos launched in, two are killed and three are taken prisoner. As it turns out, those three taken are German spies. This is revealed when Burton and Eastwood crash in on a German conference in the fortress, but not before Burton confuses Eastwood, and the audience, about whom he really is. He convinces the German high command that he is a double agent, only to then waste them. We also learn that the American General is actually a corporal. The biggest surprise comes at the end, when Burton reveals the top Nazi spy in England.
Some people can also have a [hissy] fit all they want about the fact that helicopters were not around at this time in World War II, especially in Germany. Well, after the crew gets out, they say it is an experimental machine. And they don't even call it a helicopter. Thus, such a thing can be easily ignored. I also don't mind the fluent English that spoken by the Germans here or that Burton and Eastwood are as convincingly German as rock and roll (Sorry, but it was the best I could come up with. If you have any suggestions, put them in the comment box).
Then again, this is all being judged by today's standards. This movie was released in 1968, the same year the American public saw the horrors of the Tet Offensive unfold before them on their televisions. Such fun, good, clean war movies aimed at young boys could never be made again. Or, if they were, they would not be received well. Two such recent films, "Behind Enemy Lines" and "Hart's War" vanished as quickly as they came. Another recent war film that went quickly was the brutal but sentimental "We Were Soldiers". Today, its common knowledge that war is hell, and filmmakers are quick to shove that down our throats. Anything less wouldn't please the critics. Geez, what's next on Hollywood's moral agenda: Everyone dies?
So, I don't hate "Where Eagles Dare". It has some great action scenes, an exciting music score, though a few scenes seem a bit "Dr. Strangelove"-ish, and a great cast. But, had the plot and character alliances been less confusing, the movie would have been even better. As it stands, it's a great action movie. And where's that DVD?

Thirty Sec.Over Tokyo
Thirty Sec.Over Tokyo
VHS
2 used & new from CDN$ 26.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Actually, it's "138 Minutes over Tokyo"., July 18 2002
This review is from: Thirty Sec.Over Tokyo (VHS Tape)
On April 18 1942, sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers roared off the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S Hornet. Their mission was to drop bombs on military targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, Osaka and Nagoya. The mission was led by Lt. Colonel James H. Doolittle, who had distinguished himself during the pre-war era.
When word came out about the "The Doolittle Raid", it had an effect on the morale of both sides. The Americans had an electrifying propaganda victory, with headlines around the country saying "Pearl Harbor Avenged". The Japanese, on the other hand, were shaken. The empire they thought was invincible had been hit just months after the bombing of Pearl. They hurried their plans for the destruction of the American Pacific fleet, which resulted in their own devastation at Midway in June 1942. When they came home to the states, Doolittle and his men were treated like kings, with Doolittle receiving the Medal of Honor.
I admit that the raid wasn't that important tactically. Still, it has captured the imagination of everyone who has heard it, including myself.
"Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" was based upon a best-selling book by Lieutenant Ted W. Lawson, pilot of the number seven aircraft, nicknamed "The Ruptured Duck" because of a mishap that occurred on a practice flight. His story told of the top-secret training that the pilots went through at Eglin Field, the time they spent aboard Hornet enroute to Japan and of the mission and result of. I have not read the book, so I am unsure as to how close it comes to the movie. But the movie is certainly very good, though it lacks some polish that makes it a great movie
The Pros:
There is much to recommend about this. I am a big aviation buff, so I got a kick out of the aerial photography in this movie. Among them include scenes of B-25s taking off and landing or in flight over such things as farmland in the central united states, buzzing under the Golden Gate bridge and flying over the patrol boats, country and cities of "Japan" (It was most likely just another part of American country). The special effects are very good, used at recreating the bombers or the actual bombing: Those explosions looked very realistic. I also liked the music score, with mixes song like the "Air Force Hymn".
Van Johnson is very likable as Lawson. But, unlike some films at the time, this one denies him a last minute reprieve from getting his leg amputated. Those who remember Robert Walker's chilling performance as Bruno Anthony in Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" will have difficulty recognizing him here as Engineer/Gunner David Thatcher. Maybe it was the voice or the way he acts, but he seemed like such a lightweight. Two other noteworthy roles are Spencer Tracy as Colonel Doolittle, who never appears on screen for more then a minute or so at a time, and Robert Mitchum as Bob Gray, a fellow pilot and good friend of Lawson (He was at his wedding).
Some of the scenes I most remember from the movie are simple yet moving or, in some cases, humorous: While out on a practice flight, Lawson reads a letter from his wife announcing she is pregnant, which leads to a rendition of "Rockabye Baby" as the plane sways back and forth. There is a moment when Lawson and other airman get lost inside the Hornet trying to look for the deck. After being rescued in China, Lawson and his fellow crew listen to a rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" as sung by some children in their own language. Indeed, with a few exceptions, most of the Chinese characters do speak their own language.
I also liked how the men in this movie weren't supermen. They are ordinary men who volunteered and did their best in extraordinary things. They also never face a Japanese solider.
The Cons:
Most of my criticism comes through two things: The subplot involving Lawson's wife and various propaganda scattered throughout.
Lawson's wife is named Ellen Reynolds, I believe, and she's played by Phyllis Thaxter. The inclusion of her character didn't bother me as much as her beliefs. Though she is obviously saddened and bothered by it, she is understanding and committed to allowing Ted to go off on his mission. I also did not like her character's thought that Ted would not love her if she wasn't skinny or did dress up to look pretty. What airman wouldn't want a girl like her?
There is some wartime "cheerleading" done here: What the wife at home can do (One of Ellen's friends says she'll work in a defense factory to remain occupied). Lawson and Gray have a discussion about the moralities of bombing Japanese civilians, with Gray remarking that he doesn't love them (The Japanese), but he doesn't hate them, and Lawson saying "If I don't drop a bomb on them, sooner or later, they'll drop one on Ellen". There's also a discussion that Lawson and a Chinese man, Dr. Chung, have: When asked if he'll be coming back, Lawson says that he may not, but a lot of other guys like him will because "You're our kind of people". How could he have known that relations between the U.S and Communist China would grind to a halt after the war?
Then again, like I said, I haven't read Lawson's book. Maybe these events were in it, and that these discussions actually took place. That would mean that Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was just being faithful to the book. I guess I'll have to check out for myself.
Conclusion:
A bit flawed, no doubt, and maybe even aged, like many World War II era films. However, with the exception of "Pearl Harbor", it is the only feature length film that tells the story of the Tokyo Raiders. As "War Stories" host Oliver North would say, "Theirs is a war story that deserves to be told".

Manchurian Candidate [Import]
Manchurian Candidate [Import]
Offered by screenlinepd
Price: CDN$ 13.55
9 used & new from CDN$ 5.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy cold war thriller., July 12 2002
This review is in memory of John Frankenheimer (1930-2002), who died Saturday, July 6. Besides this film, perhaps his most well known, he directed "Birdman of Alcatraz", "Seven Days in May", "All Fall Down", "The Train" and "Ronin", among others. And he was also an accomplished T.V director, having made 152 television plays during the '50's and winning four Emmy Awards in the '90's. R.I.P, Mr. Frankenheimer. Now to the review.
A squad of Army troops is captured on a patrol during the Korean War. After their escape and subsequent return home, their commander, Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Lawrence Harvey) is awarded the Medal of Honor. But odd things are occurring. Shaw's personality and attitude seems to have changed in certain ways. And the survivors of the squad are have reoccurring nightmares centering around the sergeant that involve their being captured, brainwashed and displayed in front of some top military officials. Shaw is a rather despicable person and was disliked by his squad. Yet when the survivors are asked about their feelings towards him, they consider Shaw the greatest man they ever knew. Now, one of the other men, Bennett Marco, (Frank Sinatra) has to find out the meanings of these dreams and discover the truth. He uncovers a giant conspiracy theory, piece by piece, involving mind controlling and communist conspiracies.
The assassination plot in this film foreshadowed the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert (The latter of whom was a friend of Frankenheimer). In fact, the film was withdrawn from release after JFK assassination in 1963 and wasn't released again until 1988. According to Roger Ebert, it was "as powerful as ever and, sadly, even more timely." (He might have stated that because of that year's presidential campaign and election).
But, though I think this movie works great as tense, thrilling entertainment, no doubt several people will point out some faults. Since I have to write a fair, balanced review, here are a few I found (Though I didn't hold them against it):
1. The New York Times' original review for the movie points out how Raymond was brainwashed in a short period of time, yet would still be operable two years later. I think this is just one of those "Hollywood" things that we are supposed to accept and continue on with.
2. It's possible some issues in the movie may no longer be relevant (Brainwashing, communism). The communism subplot seems mostly an attempt at political satire, with Senator Ieslin, the stepfather of Raymond, being a McCarthy like senator, who's figures about the supposed number of communists in the defense department changing every time he speaks.
3. Most of the performances, especially those by Harvey, Sinatra and Angela Lansbury as Shaw's mother, are superb (Lansbury is especially cold-hearted. Surprisingly, she was only a few years older then Harvey). Janet Leigh, however, isn't exactly at her best here. And the romance subplot between her and Sinatra could have either been better worked out better into the plot or it could have been cut out altogether.
4. I don't know what it is, but something just doesn't ring true in this movie. For example, the relationship between Shaw and another girl isn't too well explained. And events like how Raymond's mother and stepfather were working together for world conquest (?) were somewhat confusing. Or maybe they were explained, but I just wasn't paying attention? Who knows.
That said, this is still a great flick and can be enjoyed without understanding it. As for the datedness, I think that many movies, even some that came out just last week, have aged in certain areas. I believe that if the movie is still enjoyable or still carries out it's message, then it succeeds. This is one of my favorites from the 1960's. Though you do have to suspend disbelief in some areas here, try not to let it ruin the film for you. And name one movie which doesn't require suspension of disbelief. Anyway, with various plot twists and turns, wonderful performances, photography, direction and dark humor, plus one of the most suspenseful endings on film, this is one worth getting. Enjoy the show.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
VHS
5 used & new from CDN$ 16.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Why don't they make them like this anymore?, July 11 2002
This review is from: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (VHS Tape)
Even after retiring from showbiz, Frank Capra remained a very popular director until his death in 1991. His films allowed the audience to symphatize with the characters because they had a common theme of ordinary, likable (And often, small town) people being placed in extraordinary situations. Also, the main characters don't think much of what has happened to them, at least at the moment. For example, after being told he has inherited $20 million, Longfellow Deeds in Capra's 1936 comedy "Mr. Deed's Goes to Town" remarks "What do I need that for". And he goes back to playing his tuba. Another example is on the train ride to his new estate in New York: When asked what he's thinking about, it isn't the responsibility or wealth on his mind, but rather "Who's going to be the new tuba player in the band back home".
Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur are both superb as the two leads. In his career-making role as Longfellow Deeds, Cooper plays it well as a dimwitted yet charming small town man who inherits his uncle's wealth following his death (Or suicide? You decide. Hey, that rhymes!) Arthur plays newspaper writer Louise "Babe" Bennett, who goes undercover to write articles on Deeds. She is originally hired to basically uncover dirt on Longfellow, which she does. But she finds herself falling in love with him and soon feels ashamed with degrading him. Her shame comes too late, though, for due in large part to her writing, Deeds is charged with insanity and put on trial (That and he puts up his whole fortune to help out poor farmers). Now, he has to defend against an overwhelming amount of evidence. However, as learned during the trial, Deeds wasn't insane. He just did peculiar things like all humans.
There are several very funny scenes in the movie. One example is when Deeds, after chasing Walter the butler out of his room, yells at Walter to discover that the sound makes an echo. Soon, he and the other servants are making loud sounds and hearing them echo. Another funny scene is when Deeds, for the first time in his life, gets drunk and, according to Walter, fed donuts to a horse and took off his clothes yelling "Back to nature". But we never see the actual scene. That's something about this movie that current directors should pick up on: Some situations can be better, or in this case funnier, if left to our imagination. Its probably because of hindsight: When we look back at embarrassing situations we were in, we think differently of them then when they happened.
About the only compliant I had with "Mr. Deeds" was in the way this film portrays the rich class. It's said that a movie can be shown as the way a director views the world. Capra must have had some bad experiences with wealthier people. In here, basically all
the richest men in New York, lead by the only other living relative of Deeds, want part of Longfellow's money, though they are wealthy enough. This plot is similar to Capra's later "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", where a naive senator has to fight crooked politicians who want the land he has set aside for a boyscout's camp. And it's similar in ways to "It's a Wonderful Life", where the manager of a Savings and Loans building has to prevent a wealthy businessman from taking it over. I can't speak for all the rich men of the world, but I assume there must be a few good ones who aren't greedy and, if they are unselfish, they don't come from a small town. I also think that it took Deeds a little long to find out who Babe Bennett really was; A news story about him appears every morning following a date with her, yet he can't put the two together.
But that doesn't mean I don't like the movie. Being the critic that I am, I need to be fair and balanced. I think the movie is even better for tackling such lighthearted, simple and universal beliefs liked kindness and acceptance. I haven't seen the remake with Adam Sandler. I have nothing wrong with Sandler: Though he regularly plays the same guy in his movies, some of them have been funny. But from what I see on T.V ads, this remake seems to agree with today's belief that money makes you a great and happy person. As we learn here, that isn't always so. Deeds was a great man before he got all that money because he had character, integrity, honesty and dignity (Until "Donut Gate", that is). But tell me, how happier was he with all those millions? Instead, his longing for his home and friends in Mandrake Falls grows. There, he really was wealthy.

The Producers
The Producers
VHS
2 used & new from CDN$ 34.30

4.0 out of 5 stars "Shut up, he think's he's witty.", July 11 2002
This review is from: The Producers (VHS Tape)
Unlike some reviewers, I do not consider "The Producers" Mel Brooks' best film; The insane, all out lunacy of "Blazing Saddles" or "Young Frankenstein" would win my vote instead. Also, contrary to some critics, I didn't have my sides splitting as badly. However, my Dad pointed out that there are other types of humor, such as the kind that gives you a chuckle or a smile on your face. And I certainly had a big grin as I watched "The Producers".
Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) is a once great Broadway producer, who's now dirt poor ("I'm wearing a cardboard belt"), and reduced to having to call on little old ladies to get "checkies" for his next upcoming play, which may not be for awhile. However, his new accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) discovers a way to get rich off a flop: Get more financing then you need for the budget, find a play so bad it will run only one night and live off the leftover money. But, if they fail and the show's a hit, they will go to prison for fraud. The two immediately go to work, getting the rights to the play "Springtime for Hitler" from the author, an insane ex-nazi (Kenneth Mars) and hiring the worst possible director and cast. On opening night, the producers are confident of their failure. But the audience loves it, making "Springtime" a Broadway sensation. Now the race is on to stop Hitler before they land in prison.
There are several very funny and memorable scenes in "The Producers", Some of Bialystock's attempts to get money from rich old ladies, such as from one who can't hear well and another who's rather overprotective of her security, are very funny. The first appearance of the play's director (Christopher Hewitt) and his assistant (Andreas Voutsinas) is also very funny, though rather odd. I also liked the songs, such as "Love Power" performed by the hippie L.S.D (Dick Shawn), who is cast as Hitler, "Prisoners of Love" and, of course, "Springtime for Hitler". The music score is also very good, sounding like a Hollywood musical from the 1940's or '50's. There is also much great dialogue, my favorite being: "A toast...to toast. I love toast." (That reminds me of the best man's speech at my sister's wedding). Finally, how can I ignore Lee Meredith as Max's secretary who can't speak any English and, when told to go to work, most certainly does.
Some of the funniest stuff in "The Producers" comes through facial expressions characters make: Mostel dominates in this category: I like his expressions during the scene where he reveals his timetable to Leo and when he's waiting for the overprotective lady to unlock her door. Hewitt and Voutsinias are also both very funny and suggestive of their homosexuality without saying a word about it. Wilder's expressions during the opening scenes, when Max is meeting one of the old ladies, is also very funny. L.S.D's actions and gestures during the "Love Power" performance and his scenes as Hitler also tell so much about him and his mental state, without him actually saying anything about it. Hint: He's probably on the drug his initials form.
However, some of the scenes are played a bit over the top, and this was my only problem with the movie. Granted, this was probably the intention. But, the scenes could have been better played to get maximum laughs. One example is when Leo gets a panic. Wilder is so frantic and over the top that the scene was very annoying to watch, even when Leo got his blue blanket out. But the "I'm wet and I'm still hysterical" line did get a laugh. The first meeting with "Springtime's" author, as he discusses why Hitler was a better person then Churchill, is also somewhat bad because we can't understand what the guy is saying half the time. Same with the scene after opening night, when he tries to kill Max and Leo. He changed repeatedly from being insane to being normal and relaxed. In "Blazing Saddles" or "Young Frankenstein", the actors played their roles, for the most part, straight and allowed the material to get the laughs. In here, they sometimes don't trust the material enough.
That said, this is a funny movie. If you've already seen it, I don't need to add anything else. But, if you haven't seen it yet, one word of advice: Even if you are a big Mel Brooks fan, don't expect too much. Though its widely considered one of the, if not the, funniest movie, it all depends upon the eye of the beholder. The more you expect, the less you will get. It's also possible, as some others have said, that this movie grows on you and gets funnier with every viewing. I know I was laughing more with my second viewing then with my first.

Double Indemnity [Import]
Double Indemnity [Import]
VHS
8 used & new from CDN$ 9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars "I love you, too.", July 9 2002
Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) is an insurance man for Pacific All Risk. When he goes to renew automobile insurance for Mr. Dietrichson (Tom Powers), he is met by Dietrichson's wife, Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck). Almost immediately, Neff becomes drawn to Phyllis and is convinced by her to plan the murder of Mr. Dietrichson to collect insurance. The murder goes off fine and it looks as though the two will get double on the insurance due to a double indemnity clause. But Claims Manager Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) suspects foul play. To avoid raising suspicions, Walter and Phyllis stop seeing each other and start drifting further apart (Walter also starts seeing Phyllis' stepdaughter Lola (Jean Heather) to keep her from giving out information she knows). Soon, Walter and Phyllis are plotting against one another.
Whenever I think of "Double Indemnity", the line I most remember is one said by Keyes to Walter: "You're not smarter Walter, you're just a little taller". Modify this line and it could apply to all three leads.
Neff thinks that he's a smart insurance man, the best at the office. But one look at Phyllis Dietrichson and he's taken over by her. Basically, he's weak, allowing feelings to get in the way of intelligence. Phyllis, however, makes a mistake also. Through most of the movie, Walter loves her and she doesn't care for him, using him only as a pawn to kill her husband. But at the end, she loses her nerve and confesses her love, while he's calm and collected (This is after the crime has been done, however). Barton Keyes also makes a mistake: Though he is a very smart claims man and practically breaks the case, he can't figure out that Walter was Phyllis' accomplice when her husband was killed. He thinks it was another kid, Lola's boyfriend Nino Zachetti. Having known Neff for eleven years, Keyes puts too much trust in him and can't see through him.
Amazingly, though their roles in here are among the best of their respective careers, neither of the three leads were eager to jump in. For MacMurray and Stanwyck, it was a problem of going against character. "I'm a saxophone player; I do little comedies with Carole Lombard," remarked MacMurray to Director Billy Wilder. Eventually, though, he was talked into doing it. He later called the role his favorite. And although her track record included playing heavy characters, Barbara Stanwyck had yet to do a cold hearted, unsentimental, murderous slut. When she told Wilder her concerns, he replied "Are you mouse or actress?" It was enough to cast her in what has become a trademark role. As for Robinson, the problem was not so much his character, but his role. Though still a strong lead, he was third billed. But, he later said (In a quote from the IMDB), "Emanuel Goldenberg (His real life name) told me that at my age it was time to begin thinking of character roles, to slide into middle and old age with the same grace as that marvelous actor, Lewis Stone... The decision made itself... It remains one of my favorites."
"Indemnity", I think, is one of the definitive film noirs for two reasons: Its style and its plot. In here, the movie has a dark, stylish look to it. Take the Dietrichson home: Cinematographer John Seitz creates a light filtered, musty look, through the use of silver dust mixed with smoke in the air and low-key lighting. Stanwyck puts it best, in an interview done 40 years later: "That gloomy, horrible house the Dietrichsons lived in, the slit of sunlight slicing through those heavy drapes - you could smell that death was in the air, you understood why she wanted to get out of there, away, no matter how." She added, "And for an actress, let me tell you the way those sets were lit, the house, Walter's apartment, those dark shadows, those slices of harsh light at strange angles - all that helped my performance. The way Billy staged it and John Seitz lit it, it was all one sensational mood." The plot also became a common formula in noirs: A luckless, weakhearted man falls passionately in love with a woman who wants him to kill her husband or some other relative. This plot has been replicated, in part, in later films like "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (Both versions) and "Body Heat".
I believe that one amazon reviewer compared Walter and Phyllis's romance to oil and water. He missed the point. Until the end, they really don't love one another. They love the $50,000 and love more the $100,000 with double indemnity. Their partnership is one of common interest. It's similar to that of the U.S and Russia in World War II: Neither country liked one another before or after, but they united because they had a common enemy in Germany.
I would also like to answer this question, which was put up by Roger Ebert in his "Great Movies" review: Why does Walter return to Keyes' office when he has a chance to escape? It sounds foolish. But lets look at the whole picture: Walter feels guilt for what he has done to two people: Nino and Keyes. Keyes now thinks that Nino was the accomplice to Phyllis, while Walter deceived Keyes, who is really his own friend in the movie. By stating his confession, he clears Nino of any involvement and removes the guilt of lying to his friend. Also, Walter still hopes to escape, stating that he'll try to cross the border. But, the confession takes too long. At least he comes clean.
"Double Indemnity" was a critical and financial success upon release. Surprisingly, it got seven academy award nominations but no victories. Admittedly, it has some flaws (Some clichés, as a result of later movies. And Stanwyck's blonde hairdo does look silly). Otherwise, it's deserving of being a classic.
(The quotes used in this review are courtesy of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) websites. After all, I don't want to be sued.)

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